Peggy Denby comes armed with her own Midtown militia that she employs to swat down gay nightlife, the unfortunate homeless and almost anyone who dares to stand in her way. Denby (photo) on occasion has a positive impact, too, in fighting illicit drugs and crime as she heads up the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance. But give this dominatrix of District 6 a block and she’s just as likely to take a mile and step over a few bodies to get to it. Her latest target? Homeless folks who populate the stretch of the Atlanta Beltline that runs through her backyard – known to everyone else as Midtown. Denby is such a bigoted grouch that she can’t allow herself even a whiff of compassion in a discussion with Creative Loafing about homeless people.
"It's not a good place for them to be," says Peggy Denby, president of the Midtown Ponce Security Alliance, of the homeless who live along the Beltline near Piedmont Park. "They can't mix with regular people. They want to destroy everything the Beltline is putting in."It’s not Denby’s first dance with the homeless. She bitterly fought against the Peachtree-Pine shelter operated by the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. Nightlife gays of a certain age will recall that the gray-haired bitter pill fueled the fight against Backstreet, the popular gay dance club that found its home on Peachtree long before Denby made Midtown her bitch. She shed a tear when the club closed in 2004, but they were tears of joy. She took on nightlife promoters again when she fought efforts to open Club Reign on Peachtree. The fits and starts of the sprawling lounge and nightclub teased gay party-goers last Pride, only to disappoint – twice. What’s troubling about Denby – besides her anti-gay nightlife positions and her lack of compassion – is that she’s influential enough to curry favor with Atlanta police, enough so that commanders send her emails dismissing a Piedmont Park murder as little more than a gay hustle gone bad. It really makes you wonder if Denby was one of the handful of anonymous complaints more than two years ago that apparently triggered the undercover police investigation leading to the Eagle raid shitstorm. One of the complaints, after all, came through former police Major Khirus Williams, who commanded Midtown's Zone 5 before being ousted earlier this year. Denby was one of his biggest supporters. Or she could have just browbeaten some homeless guy to do it. Photo courtesy Phil Skinner, AJC